Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson Eppes, 16 July 1802

To Mary Jefferson Eppes

Washington July 16. 1802

My dear Maria

Your sister informs me she has lately given you information of the health of the family. it seems her children have escaped the measles tho some of the negroes have had it. the following is an extract from her letter dated July 10. ‘we are entirely free from the measles here now. those of our people who had it have recovered. at Monticello the last time I heard from there three of the nail boys had it & others were complaining, but whether with the measles or not I could not learn. I will send over to Lilly immediately to let him know your orders on the subject.’ these orders were to remove every person from the mountain who had or should have the measles. I have no doubt you may proceed with the utmost security. I shall be there before you, to wit on Saturday the 24th. and will take care to have a clear stage, if any body should still have it: but there can be no doubt it will have gone through all who were to have it before that date. I am satisfied Francis will have more to hope from the change of air, than to fear from the measles. and as to yourself, it is of great importance to get up into the country as soon as you are able, the liability to bilious diseases being exactly in proportion to the distance from the sea. I leave this on the 24th. and shall be in great hopes of recieving yourself and mr Eppes there immediately. I recieved two days ago his letter of the 8th. in which he gives me a poor account of your health, tho’ he says you are recruiting. make very short stages, be off always by day light and have your day’s journey over by ten. in this way it is probable you may find the moderate exercise of the journey of service to yourself & Francis. nothing is more frequent than to see a child reestablished by a journey. present my sincerest affections to the family at Eppington, and to mr Eppes. tell him the tory newspapers are all attacking his publication, and urging it as a proof that Virginia has for object to change the constitution of the US. and to make it too impotent to curb the larger states. accept yourself assurances of my constant & tenderest love.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjP); at foot of text: “Mrs. Maria Eppes.”

HIS PUBLICATION: upon learning of William Branch Giles’s plan to retire from Congress at the end of the next session, John Wayles Eppes wrote an address to the people of Powhatan, Amelia, Chesterfield, and Goochland counties offering his services as a representative for his district. He urged Republicans to work for amendments to the Constitution that would reduce the length of terms for senators to that of representatives and “render the President ineligible after a certain period, until a term of years shall have intervened.” Judges would be appointed by Congress for a fixed period of years and would not be permitted to hold any other office during their judgeship (Richmond Virginia Argus, 30 June 1802). Criticism of the proposed amendments appeared in such newspapers as the Baltimore Republican, or Anti-Democrat, 12 July, and the Boston Mercury and New-England Palladium, 13 July.

Index Entries